A few weeks ago, I was on a flight from London to Dusseldorf.
As the cabin manager made her way along the isle, a man in the seat behind me asked her, “What time do we arrive in Düsseldorf?”
“At 7pm sir” Came the reply.
“Does that take in to account the speed of the plane?”
I looked up at the cabin manager and saw she was completely surprised by the question and replied, “I’m not sure, but the ground speed is about 350 miles an hour”, she replied.
“So if we leave at 5pm UK time, it takes one hour to get there, that’s 6pm UK time. We then take into account the speed, 350 miles an hour, the distance between the two airports is about 400 miles, taking into account the speed at which we take off and land, we can now adjust the time back by one hour since this is the equivalent of standing still, that gives us 5pm. We now add the time difference of one hour, this means that we actually land in Dusseldorf at 6pm Central European Time” Said the man confidently.
To my astonishment, she agreed.
It was an amazingly long and complicated way to come to an incorrect answer, but impressive enough to seemingly convince the Cabin Manager.
However, it got me thinking about how easy it can be to become drawn into unnecessary detail and thereby come to the wrong conclusion.
I wondered if perhaps I would have questioned my own judgement if I had been the cabin manager, or how would I have explained to the customer that he was wrong?
On reflection, I believe that in this situation, because the cabin manager was very busy, politely agreeing was probably the best option for her. If this was the case, then I wonder if there is ever a time when it’s okay to let our customers think they are right, even when they are wrong?
Have a great week.